Soya mince, often called soy mince, soy crumbles or soy ground beef, is a product made out of textured vegetable protein. It is textured and shaped to resemble mince, or ground beef, and is usually colored and seasoned so that the look and flavor of the soy product is the similar to that of beef. A versatile food, soya mince can be used in any recipe that calls for ground beef or any other type of ground meat, making the dish suitable for vegetarians or vegans and reducing the fat and calories of traditional dishes.
There are many companies that make some sort of soya mince product. These imitation meats are often frozen or refrigerated, though there are some that have been dehydrated so they can be kept at room temperature. Some companies make mince that is pre-seasoned for use in different types of cuisine.
The textured vegetable protein used to make the mince is made out of soy beans. The beans are ground into a fine flour, mixed with water, and then shaped into the desired form. For soy crumbles, the vegetable protein is shaped into small granules and usually allowed to dry before it is further processed. These dried granules can be purchased, after which they can be rehydrated, seasoned, and cooked. Companies also use soy granules to make mince that is ready to eat.
Any dish that calls for ground meat can be made with soya mince instead. Dishes that use soy as a replacement for meat often have fewer calories and less fat, though they still contain a lean, easily digested protein. In addition to the health benefits of using textured vegetable protein, dishes that use this product can be made so that they are acceptable to vegetarians or vegans, depending on the other ingredients that are added to the dish. Though soy-based protein is a common component of vegetarian dishes, it can also be used along with meat in order to make a dish ealthier without compromising the flavor.
Soya mince needs to be flavored with seasonings and the other ingredients in the dish. By itself, the product has very little flavor, which is one reason that it is such an adaptable food. A cook making soy crumbles out of dried textured vegetable protein adds flavoring to the soy before using it in a dish.